UCSB’s club surfing team has a past filled with champions. The future of surfing at Santa Barbara hopes to add to the storied history.
With several top surfers returning and many talented additions, UCSB will try to “win it all,” captain Andy Miller said. Though the club team has a heavy past to live up to, enthusiasm and talent will lift this squad.
The UCSB surf team has won 10 out of the last 15 National Championships and has on board the two-time reigning long board champion, Dylan Mignogna. UCSB held the best record on the West Coast in the National Scholastic Surfing Association last season.
The NSSA is made up of approximately 20 different teams that compete in four annual events. In each event there are three teams of six male short boarders, one male long boarder, one female boarder and one body boarder. After taking first place in the NSSA last season, the team competed for the National Championships in June. Sean Walker, who has since graduated, was named the 2001 Individual National Champion. The Gauchos finished in third place as a team, however.
“I wouldn’t say that was a highlight, because we usually win,” Miller said. “We were disappointed.”
Returnees for the men include short boarders Bart Templeman, who took second place for Santa Barbara at the 1999 State Championships, and captain Scott Turner. Rory Riever and Mike Bilgren also return. Returning long boarders include Todd Barbosa and Matt Richert. For the women, Liz Clark and Nicole DeLeon will be riding the waves again for UCSB.
The surf team held their tryouts last Saturday at Sands Beach. Sixty surfers tried out for the squad, only 27 of whom were chosen. The recent additions to the team were not available at press time.
“The competition was really stiff this year, and it was tough deciding on the final roster,” Miller said.
When asked what goals the Gauchos can reach this season, captains Turner and Miller believed that the team is going to win all four events in their season. State and National titles are also high on the list.
The club is looking to hold a local surf contest with all the proceeds going to charity.
“This will give local kids a chance to come out and surf with us,” Miller said.
The surf team holds practice every Wednesday at 8 a.m. at Sands Beach. Its first event is scheduled for Oct. 28 at C Street in Ventura. This is their closest event of the season and the team hopes to see more fan support this year. After that, Santa Barbara will compete at Blacks Beach in La Jolla on Dec. 22.